BIID, Therianthropy, and a family of Identity-mismatch Disorders

The following is something that I have been wanting to discuss for over six months now. It has taken me a long time to find the right way to explain the topic, and in terms of content it happens that every time I come close to completing it, I discover more relevant information. Fortunately for me, a reader of my blog asked me about this matter, which I hinted at in the postscript to one of my previous posts, and I was thus forced to put it down in words. As such, I finally found myself with the basis for a blog post on the topic.

This is a matter which I have been thinking about for quite a long time. Many people with BIID, or who spend time in BIID communities, are probably familiar with the frequent comparisons between BIID and GID. It’s been suggested many times that maybe BIID and GID are one in the same thing, just different variants. As inconclusive as those discussions normally are, I found it hard to accept that they could not be the same thing – after all, I was able to take the DSM-V criteria for GID and replace “gender” with “disability” and then fit almost all the criteria myself. But yet, how can gender identity and disability identity have anything in common?

And then I found the key. Or rather, I experienced the key first-hand. When my BIID involuntarily went away, I found myself with another identity-mismatch. Not a mismatch of my non-disabled body to a disabled identity. And not a mismatch of a male body to a female identity. This was something different.

Enter Therianthropy.Read More »

Why aspies don’t swear

I’m not going to say that aspies never swear. Sometimes we swear a *lot*, in response to the increased frustration that we feel about the world compared to neurotypicals. But what you’re not going to find many aspies doing is throwing swear words into every second sentence like a lot of people do. Why? Why don’t we use swear words the same way as other people?

Swear words are redundant

Most times when people use a swear word, they are used to add emphasis. This is redundant. Think about it: why should we say “it’s fucking cold outside” when we can say “it’s very cold outside”? Or maybe we don’t need any word in there at all: just say “it’s cold outside”, because after all you’re just trying to explain why you’re wearing a scarf and gloves (which really shouldn’t need explaining at all, just sayin’ ;-) ).

Swear words are imprecise

Furthermore, swear words don’t accurately convey what we’re trying to say. So many reviews for, for example, smartphone apps say “this app is so crappy”. Why use the word “crappy” when we could use a much more meaningful word? What about explaining *why* the app is crappy, by saying something like “this app is so difficult to use” or the even more helpful “the navigation menus have too many layers in them”? In the statement “my day was a pile of shit” we’re left wondering “in what way was it a pile of shit?”, and we see no reason to use a word that omits this information completely when we could just as easily express what we had in mind when we made the statement.

Even if we’re trying to insult someone, I can think of many better ways of doing that without using a swear word. Instead of saying “why the hell did you do that?” I’m probably going to say “why did you do such a stupid thing?”. Not only have I added the information that what they did was stupid and that’s why I’m complaining about it, but I also score a point for calling the other person’s actions stupid ;-) .

Swear words are meaningless

They’re overused and lose their meaning because people are saying and hearing them all the time. ‘Nuff said.

Swear words are lazy

When someone swears at us, we don’t take offence; we think “couldn’t you think of a better word?”. Swearing just shows laziness: laziness in not thinking of something more original to say, and laziness in not trying to avoid words that many people don’t like. Or laziness in not thinking of a better way to insult us.

We don’t want to look lazy, and as aspies we have a natural tendency to want to do something the best way, not just the easiest way, so we prefer to think more carefully about the words that we use.

Swear words are offensive

We might not always show it, but we really don’t want to offend or upset people. So why use a word that’s intended to do just that, just to tell someone how friggin’ cold it is outside?

Excuses for the cane

Wheelchair pretenders really have it easy. There are so many excuses that can be used when one unexpectedly crops up in a wheelchair, and again when they return a few days later back to their former walking self. One can explain “part-time” wheelchair use to people that see them every day. On reading archives of transabled.org, one finds such excuses ranging from “back pain” to a vague “neurological problem” and anything else which may in part be true or may be completely made-up or even a non-existent condition which sounds plausible enough that people believe it.

But there is no such luck for blind pretenders. We can’t say “sometimes I can see well enough to walk without a cane but sometimes I need to use the cane” like wheelchair pretenders can say “sometimes I can walk well enough but other times I need the chair”. Sure, we can claim “deteriorating vision”, but then it’s not going to be convincing to walk around with fully obscured vision, so the pretender would have to be willing to accept simulated partial/blurry vision in place of complete blindness for their pretending (something which does nothing to help with my BIID).

No, if you’re going to pretend to be blind you have to do it full-time. So you have to be practiced enough that people don’t wonder why you aren’t still in rehab. You have to have a story ready for when people ask the inevitable questions, and your story has to be able to explain how you could go straight from apparently fully-sighted to fully-blind overnight without any sign of shock or taking any time off studying/work for rehab. That’s a pretty tricky situation, and once you’ve taken that step you’re locked in; you can’t just say “my sight got better again” like wheelchair pretenders can say “my joint pain subsided”, even if your BIID has gone quiet and you don’t feel the need to pretend as much, or you find that really pretending isn’t working as a treatment option.

Maybe there’s something I’m missing, but it really seems like wheelchair pretenders have it easy. They can pretend right in front of regular acquaintances, no questions asked; while it might be easier to physically simulate blindness than it is to simulate paralysis, the logistics of pretending once you leave the house are considerably more difficult.

I guess Ham Radio just isn’t for me…

For almost nine months now I have had an itch to get into amateur radio in some way or another. It started when I had been reading about shortwave radio and I wanted to listen to it for myself, so I tried to find a circuit diagram of a simple shortwave receiver that I could build on my breadboard. And it didn’t work. Then a little while later, for some reason or another, I tried to build an SDR (software-defined radio) quadrature mixer to let me experiment with a range of radio encoding methods on one of my Linux computers. And it didn’t work. Then I decided to keep it simple and just build a direct-conversion CW (Morse code) receiver – not much to go wrong there. And it didn’t work.

See the pattern here? Yes, none of them worked. And today, even after I managed to receive and (manually) decode the 60kHz MSF time signal with the help of (the same) Linux SDR program, I still failed to get a simple frequency mixer working in order to tune higher up the LF band. And I only managed to get the time signal experiment working because the sound card in my new computer can sample at up to 192kHz sampling rate, and 60kHz is thus below the maximum tunable frequency of 96kHz, meaning that I practically just had to connect a fairly long random-wire antenna to the line in port on my computer, fire up the SDR, and type in “60kHz” – not much of an achievement there. Heck, even the magnetic loop antenna didn’t work.Read More »

When BIID bites…

The past few weeks have been very quiet for me as far as BIID goes. Yes it’s still been there, but I haven’t thought about pretending for a long time and I can’t say that I’ve felt as if I need to pretend. I’m not sure why this is, and I still suspect that it might be a mental blockage spilt over from the incident at college which continues to haunt me to this day (I have flashbacks almost every day to that moment when I was told not to use my cane at college – I didn’t quite capture in that post exactly how much it hurt me), but nevertheless it’s been that way for a good few weeks now and I kind of hoped that maybe I was “recovering” from BIID, or whatever this blindness thing of mine is.

But no, I was wrong. It only takes one small thing to set it off again. Testing the screenreader on my new computer didn’t do it. Disposing of Braille labels that had worn flat didn’t do it. Neither did packing my cane away in the garage on Friday last week (considering that I wasn’t using it anymore) do it. Yes, it really seemed like I was cured. In some ways I was loathed to lose this “other part” of me – this blind, but not physically blind, part – but nevertheless it would be better in the long run if BIID went away. But as I say, it didn’t. For some reason it started coming back to me again last night. Although I think that happens every Saturday night, probably because Saturdays were always the days when my mother and I went out with me pretending to be blind. But that’s not what I’m talking about now.Read More »

A year reading Braille

It’s been a year since I started reading Braille. Well, I don’t think I can exactly call what I did in those days “reading”, but I’m talking about when I first learnt the first few letters of the alphabet in Braille. Actually I think I started with the ones that made the most sense to me – yes, that’s right, I chose the ones that looked the most similar to their print counterparts as those were easier to learn. Not to mention that nowdays they all look identical to their print counterparts to me.

That’s funny actually, how the print alphabet and the Braille look alike to me. I guess that’s how it is when your brain learns an alternative way of representing the same information. But I actually don’t spend much time these days looking at Braille characters. When I first learnt Braille I was, of course, reading it by sight, even though my intention all along was to learn to read it by touch. I remember when I first started reading it by touch, then, and at first it was frustrating because it was slower that way, but now I’m faster reading Braille by touch than by sight and I get this weird feeling sometimes where I feel the printed words that I read as Braille characters under my fingers. I guess it’s kind of like where a sighted person subconsciously visualises the words that they are reading in their head – well, I used to anyway, before I learnt to read Braille.Read More »

I actually spoke to somebody!

I actually spoke to somebody on the bus home from college this afternoon! It’s kind of a long story, really, but here’s how it goes:

Due to some bad planning on my part, my afternoon’s pretending while walking from college to the bus stop ended up with me boarding the bus still as a “blind” person. This of course had not been my intention, and now I was in an awkward situation where shortly after climbing onto the bus “blind”, stumbling up the stairs to the upper floor, and making a big show of myself to the entire floor by trying to sit down where someone else was already sitting, I had to pack my cane away, open my eyes, and put my glasses back on such that it was clear to anyone who cared to watch me that I was only a pretender.

As both the front and second-to-front seats were already taken, I sat a little further back. I guess that perhaps my obvious pretending to be blind had bothered the lady behind me, because a little while later I asked her a question and she just muttered “pshaw” in my direction and ignored me (but then that might just be her character, for she didn’t seem to care either that eating potato crisps on the bus is a direct violation of the terms of service). Well so much for her, I thought, and promptly got up and marched into a seat further back, making a point of showing everybody – except the two young ladies in the front seat – that I was not blind.Read More »

Isolation

So I went out with my cane again yesterday. I enjoyed it. It made me feel better. And then when I got home, I had nobody to share it with. Obviously there was my mother – she’d gone out with me, after all. But previously when I had done something like that, I would have told my friends with BIID – Marisol, Rachel, and Jewel. Even two weeks ago I would have still told Jewel, even though Marisol was ignoring me and Rachel had rejected me. When I got my cane, I told Jewel. I didn’t get a chance to tell her in a Skype call, but I sent her an email and she wrote back. That was nice.

Now there’s absolutely nobody. It’s like I’m isolated – in my own world with nobody to share my experiences with. But that’s not really got much to do with BIID, because at least the BIID is mostly under control. Compared to BIID, social isolation is nothing.

Got my first white cane

It literally arrived less than half an hour ago. I’m still at a bit of a loss for words. I guess it feels kind of weird, because here I am, a sighted person, with a white cane. It felt weird enough a few days ago when I ordered it, but now I guess it’s so weird that I can’t figure out how to describe it.

I think that one aspect is that it feels kind of like a “next step” in the development of my BIID. You see, almost everyone with blindness-variant BIID has a cane, but I didn’t. So while my issues were perhaps as significant as those of any other person with BIID, I could kind of write it off as not really a big deal because, after all, it’s not like my life’s been affected by it in any way. I mean, installing a screenreader on one’s laptop doesn’t feel like that because it’s just a piece of software, but to have a cane is kind of a big thing to me – a significant part of my life, as in that now I guess I kind of live half as a blind person and half as a sighted person. It doesn’t really make sense, because for a long time now I’ve been living half-blind half-sighted, but somehow it’s different when you’ve got a cane.Read More »

Made a new friend with BIID

I’ve mentioned here before about my friends with BIID. Specifically, two friends with blindness-variant BIID. One being a German lady in her 40s and the other being an American lady in her 20s whose picture I have previously reblogged. And today I made a third.

But this one is different. She’s blind. And she’s happy. Because, almost 10 years ago, she made herself blind. Because she had BIID. And she’s the only such person known to the internet.Read More »